Saturday, November 24, 2012

Sat 24th Nov Todays News

Happy birthday and many happy returns Judith Olumba. Born the same day as 1642 – A Dutch expedition led by Abel Tasman reached present-day Tasmania, Australia. Remember, birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live. And Christmas Day is particularly blessed.

November 24Feast day of Vietnamese Martyrs (Roman Catholicism); Teachers' Day in Turkey
Leszek I the White




[edit]Holidays and observances


Hand that warming extremist a mirror

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER242012(4:38pm)

Robyn Williams, the ABC’s chief science presenter, today decries ”distortions of science” in discussing global warming.
Does he mean this kind of thing, from 2007:
Andrew Bolt: I’m telling you, there’s a lot of fear out there. So what I do is, when I see an outlandish claim being Tim Flannery suggesting rising seas this next century eight stories high, Professor Mike Archer, dean of engineering at the University of NSW…

Robyn Williams: Dean of science.
Andrew Bolt: Dean of science...suggesting rising seas this next century of up to 100 metres, or Al Gore six metres. When I see things like that I know these are false. You mentioned the IPCC report; that suggests, at worst on best scenarios, 59 centimetres.
Robyn Williams: Well, whether you take the surge or whether you take the actual average rise are different things.
Andrew Bolt: I ask you, Robyn, 100 metres in the next you really think that?

Robyn Williams: It is possible, yes.
Funnily enough, Williams today cited in support of his warming faith the “97 per cent” - or 98 per cent - of scientist he claims are believers, too.
Fancy that, using a distortion of science to attack those he claims distort science:
So where did that famous “consensus” claim that “98% of all scientists believe in global warming” come from? It originated from an endlessly reported 2009 American Geophysical Union (AGU) survey consisting of an intentionally brief two-minute, two question online survey sent to 10,257 earth scientists by two researchers at the University of Illinois. Of the about 3.000 who responded, 82% answered “yes” to the second question, which like the first, most people I know would also have agreed with.

Then of those, only a small subset, just 77 who had been successful in getting more than half of their papers recently accepted by peer-reviewed climate science journals, were considered in their survey statistic. That “98% all scientists” referred to a laughably puny number of 75 of those 77 who answered “yes”.
That anything-but-scientific survey asked two questions. The first: “When compared with pre-1800s levels, do you think that mean global temperatures have generally risen, fallen, or remained relatively constant?"  Few would be expected to dispute this…the planet began thawing out of the “Little Ice Age” in the middle 19th century, predating the Industrial Revolution. (That was the coldest period since the last real Ice Age ended roughly 10,000 years ago.)
The second question asked: “Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?” So what constitutes “significant”? Does “changing” include both cooling and warming… and for both “better” and “worse”? And which contributions…does this include land use changes, such as agriculture and deforestation?


I fear Faine has let his Leftism blind him

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER242012(11:29am)

I suspect ABC host Jon Faine, on reflection, will agree his presentation of the AWU scandal has been grossly one-sided, often ill-informed and too apparently driven by a partisan desire to protect a Labor leader.
His sliming of Michael Smith was an uncharacteristically low act, and should be apologised for.
Listen to Faine’s hectoring of Smith and senior Age reporter Mark Baker here.
I thought it would be hard to trump the wilful blindness and gullibility of a Peter van Oscillate, but the three months since has seen even his gold medal denialism trumped: 
Van Onselen: Can I just ask one question on this and then we move on – last question. Why not just put it all out there? I believe you, that you did nothing wrong. I made a comment on Friday on my show the Contrarians that I thought this is all a beat-up and that we should move onto the major issues. But why not just address it straight down the barrel so that we can move on and all of the scuttlebutt that goes on online, which frankly I’m sick of people emailing me about this, we can just move one from it.

PM: Well Peter let me welcome but also question your grand naivety...
When even Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten and Bill Kelty concede the slush fund Gillard helped to create is illegitimate, such commentary seem worse than grand naivety. 


AWU - Strange company and Swan’s strange defence

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER242012(9:59am)

 The AWU scandal
Treasurer Wayne Swan today says Ralph Blewitt, the bagman for Julia Gillard’s former boyfriend, Bruce Wilson, is “effectively a crook”.
He means by this we should not trust what Blewitt now says about the AWU slush fund scandal and Gillard’s role.
But it makes me wonder again: if Blewitt is indeed a crook and, as ABC broadcast Jon Faine suggests, a sleaze, why was he a friend of Gillard’s in the 1990s, receiving even free legal help? Why was the even dodgier Wilson, a con man, Gillard’s boyfriend?
Strange company for a future Prime Minister.
Swan also attacked former Slater & Gordon partner Nick Styant-Browne’s credibility, saying he just had a grudge and an axe to grind. Just what that grudge was, Swan failed to say.
I’d say slanging off at Styant-Browne may not be wise. Styant-Browne still has plenty of evidence yet to be released which he may well use if called upon to match his credibility against Gillard’s.
Reader the Old and Unimproved Dave:
Wayne Swan’s motto has always been : “If you’re skating on thin ice, you may as well tapdance.”


Only illegal if Labor says it

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER242012(9:50am)

Up-and-coming Labor MP Andrew Leigh, a former ANU professor, hears only from his right ear. Here he is on Sky on Thursday:

Just on the language of illegals. When Mr Abbott refers to asylum seekers as illegals….. That’s not language you’ll ever hear from the Labor Party. 
Oh, no?
Julia Gillard, July 2010:
Through their efforts to disrupt people smuggling, the Australian Federal Police, working with our regional neighbours, have prevented more than 5,000 foreign nationals coming to our shores illegally. These are the facts. 
Stephen Smith, April 2010:
There are different legal basis and status for those people who arrive by boat — the illegal or unlawful maritime arrivals. But people also can arrive by different methods, generally by plane, and claim asylum.
Simon Crean, October 2009:
QUESTION: Minister, can I just ask you - sorry - do you endorse Kevin Rudd’s comments that people arriving on boats are illegal immigrants?

SIMON CREAN: Well, some of them may be but in the main they’re refugees. I mean, I think the importance about what we’re trying to do and the fundamental difference between our approach to this and the previous government, we always said we were going to secure our borders. We said that. But we also recognised that the refugee issue is of a global dimension and requires a global response. Our criticism…
QUESTION: Is it premature to call them illegal, though?
SIMON CREAN: …of the previous government was that they never did anything to work with other nations to deal with the flow and then the accommodation. And that’s what we said going into the election we would develop, and that’s what we’ll continue to develop. And I think you can see the relationships that we’ve had with Indonesia in the last week or so, an important part of that country to country, but we need to take it further and develop the international response as well.
QUESTION: It’s not premature, though, to call them illegal?

Kevin Rudd, October 2009:
… we have always said that our approach to people smuggling, to illegal immigration, to asylum seekers, will be tough, hardline, but humane. 
Kevin Rudd, October 2009:
I make no apology whatsoever for adopting a hardline approach when it comes to illegal immigration activity, and I make no apology whatsoever having a hardline and humane approach to dealing with asylum seekers. That’s the balance the Australian community expects of us.
Kevin Rudd, October 2009:
Well, we believe we’ve got the balance right in a hardline approach to illegal immigration, and treating the people who we are required to process in a humane fashion.
To that add this, from the Department of Immigration itself:
Fact Sheet 75 - Processing Unlawful Boat Arrivals

... Against the background of high numbers of illegal boat arrivals, the Federal Government passed a series of laws…
And this, from the United Nations High Commission on Refugees, which again makes clear that the mode of entry remains illegal, even if those arriving are genuine asylum seekers who should nevertheless escape penalty:

2. Of key significance to the issue of detention is Article 31 of the 1951 Convention2. Article 31 exempts refugees coming directly from a country of persecution from being punished on account of their illegal entry or presence, provided they present themselves without delay to the authorities and show good cause for their illegal entry or presence....
According to Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the right to seek and enjoy asylum is recognised as a basic human right. In exercising this right asylum-seekers are often forced to arrive at, or enter, a territory illegally… This element, as well as the fact that asylum-seekers have often had traumatic experiences, should be taken into account in determining any restrictions on freedom of movement based on illegal entry or presence
It should not be used as a punitive or disciplinary measure for illegal entry or presence in the country…

The increasing use of detention as a restriction on the freedom of movement ofasylum seekers on the grounds of their illegal entry is a matter of major concern to UNHCR, NGOs, other agencies as well as Governments… Detention as a mechanism which seeks to address the particular concerns of States related to illegal entry requires the exercise of great caution in its use to ensure that it does not serve to undermine the fundamental principles upon which the regime of international protection is based.


Greens keep Aborigines poor

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER242012(9:46am)

Only too true:
THE Aboriginal academic Marcia Langton has accused the left of standing in the way of indigenous advancement, consigning the nation’s first peoples to lives of poverty.

In her second Boyer lecture, an extract of which is published in the Herald, Professor Langton argues the environmental movement has emerged as ‘’one of the most difficult of all the obstacles hindering Aboriginal economic development’’.

‘’Among the left and among those opinion leaders who hang on to the idea of the new ‘noble savage’, Aboriginal poverty is invisible, masked by a ‘wilderness’ ideology,’’ Professor Langton argues in the lecture, which will be broadcast on Sunday.

‘’Whenever an Aboriginal group negotiates with a resource extraction company there is an unspoken expectation that no Aboriginal group should become engaged in any economic development. They only tolerate Aboriginal people living on their own land as caretakers of wilderness, living in poverty and remaining uneducated and isolated.’’
Interesting how the “noble savage” critique once made by conservatives - who were reviled for it - is now mainstreaming.
I suspect anther critique last year banned as unlawful will swiftly become a common-place, too.


The Bolt Report tomorrow

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER242012(8:04am)

On Sunday’s show, on Channel 10 at 10am and 4.30pm:
Nationals leader Warren Truss, former Labor Senator John Black (who campaigned against a certain former boyfriend of Julia Gillard’s) and former Finance Minister Nick Minchin.
Boats, the AWU scandal and whether we’re about to be too mean to boat people.


AWU scandal - Paying Gillard’s builder

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER242012(7:57am)

 The AWU scandal
I believe more inquiries of Mr Spyridis, especially from police, might jog more from his memory than he’s prepared to tell a journalist - (and in saying that I do not mean to imply he himself did anything wrong):
One of those [Federal Court] files contains affidavit material including bank documents obtained from the CBA. One is a $15,000 cheque for cash drawn on the Victorian slush fund, the AWU Members Welfare No 1 account, on April 27, 1995.

Mr Collins and Mr Wilson [Gillard’s then boyfriend] signed the cheque. The handwriting on an accompanying note later handed over by the bank to Mr Cambridge states: “5000—cash. K. Spyridis—10,000 B/chq.”
Kon Spyridis is now retired and living in inner Melbourne, but at the time had a business called KM & J Spyridis and did building work around the city, including extensive work valued at more than $30,000 to refit new offices for the AWU at the request of Mr Wilson.
Mr Spyridis was introduced to Ms Gillard by AWU organiser Bill “the Greek” Telikostoglou and they were both involved in the renovations on her workers’ cottage in Abbotsford.
Mr Spyridis—a former branch organiser for the Liberal Party who worked in the fashion industry before moving into building work—says he was not paid with bank cheques for the AWU work but today recalls Ms Gillard paying him with two bank cheques for the renovation work on her house, for amounts totalling about $3500.
His current recollection of the amount he was paid for the work on the house chimes approximately with Ms Gillard’s 1995 recollection when she was interviewed by the firm’s senior partner, Peter Gordon, of agreeing to pay Mr Spyridis $3780 in two tranches.
According to Ms Gillard’s 1995 interview, those payments were made several months after Mr Spyridis received the bank cheque from the Victorian slush fund.
Asked about the payments he received for the renovation of the house, Mr Spyridis told The Weekend Australian: “I get my money and that’s it.”

Ms Gillard insisted on August 23 this year that she paid for the renovations to her own house.
Did she ever ask if the AWU officials working on her renovations did so in their own time? 
Ms Gillard revealed in the 1995 interview during an internal probe by the firm that she went on holiday and “Bruce, whilst I was away, decided that I should just get it done so he commenced with a group of friends demolishing the bathroom . . . “By the time I came back the bathroom had been demolished so I had no option but to get the rest of the renovations done and a series of tradespeople who Jim Collins predominantly organised, Jim Collins being an organiser at the AWU . . . a series of tradespeople came in and did the renovation . . .”

I suspect we’ll hear more about this.  In saying that, I should make clear I have no evidence to say Gillard is not telling the truth. I just believe there is more to evidence to come, including this:
DISGRACED former union leader Ralph Blewitt has given sworn statements to Victorian police that contain allegations about a payment to a building contractor at an Abbotsford house owned by Prime Minister Julia Gillard in the early 1990s.

During a three-hour meeting with fraud squad detectives, Mr Blewitt also gave details about the establishment of an Australian Workers Union slush fund and the purchase of a Fitzroy property partly bought with more than $100,000 stolen from the fund.

Lawyers representing Mr Blewitt said he declined to make public details of the specific allegations, which were made after he was given guarantees that the information would not be used against him in any future prosecutions.
Bob Smith may have a story to tell at last, too:

In August this year, during a press conference on the AWU scandal, Ms Gillard said: “I paid for the renovations on my home” in Abbottsford.
I have a strong hunch that this incident helps to explain this part of a report in The Age from 29 April 1996, a few months after the builder called on Smith: 
A vehement attack on the Opposition Leader, Mr Brumby, at a meeting of the dominant Labor Unity faction yesterday went unchallenged by senior members of his Labor front bench…

Party insiders said Mr Smith (Australian Workers Union secretary Mr Bob Smith) criticised Mr Brumby for not maintaining contact with a broad range of members. They said Mr Smith spoke against the possible appointment of a lawyer, Ms Julia Gillard, as Mr Brumby’s chief of staff. It is believed Mr Brumby will ignore advice to appoint Mr Richard Wynne, a one-time chief adviser to the former deputy Prime Minister, Mr Brian Howe.

(Thanks to reader Peter.)


How could they have run out of money in a mining boom?

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER242012(7:39am)

Tax and spend: 
LABOR has pumped an extra $32.6 billion in net spending into the economy over the past three years, undermining its fiscal strategy of returning the budget to surplus and paying off debt.

An analysis by The Weekend Australian of the federal government’s revenue and expenses decisions after the 2009 budget, the last in a succession of stimulus packages, has found Labor’s policy moves have raised $35.4bn in revenue.

The net effect of Labor’s policy interventions in eight successive economic statements has improved the projected fiscal balance by a mere $2.8bn, adding weight to the view the Gillard government is a “tax and spend” administration. 
On some estimates, the additional ongoing cost could be close to $30bn a year by the end of the decade - precisely when demographic realities begin to bite…

Chris Richardson, the country’s premier independent fiscal maven… fears governments have overspent, tying future spending programs to unrealistic income streams that could dry up if the prices we get for our mineral and resources exports fall further than Treasury expects…

The Government is also blowing the budget on welfare programs of dubious worth, rather than invest in wealth creation:
In nominal terms, Rudd-Gillard Labor has increased annual assistance to the aged by 44 per cent; raised education spending by 60 per cent; and boosted health outlays by 37 per cent. Yet for all the money spent on the “education revolution”, family payments, primary healthcare or national security, for instance, can Labor provide evidence that the nation is fairer smarter, healthier and safer?

Consider the case of the $540 million National Partnership Agreement on Literacy and Numeracy, which began in 2009… Yet the Australian National Audit Office found that, despite spending $322m in 1050 schools, the program had “yet to make a statistically significant improvement, in any state, on the average NAPLAN results of schools that received LNNP funding, when compared to schools that did not receive funding”.
IN Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan, we have a Prime Minister and a Treasurer who dare to dream big dreams, at least in terms of how to spend very large sums of money. The name Gonski and the letters NDIS spring immediately to mind.

Astonishingly, though, they show no interest in the means by which the requisite large sums of money to fund the big dreams can be generated. Indeed, they preside over a government taking active steps to undermine such money generation…

This is not just about budget chaos and the inevitability of continuing perhaps serious deficits under a Gillard-Swan government. The bifurcation between extravagant spending promises and anti-growth and anti-business policies actively threatens our future prosperity. Indeed, our future generally. 
A grim example:

Wayne Swan has attacked the states for increasing royalties, and a review into the carve-up of GST revenues is expected to recommend capping the federal refunds for state royalties that are made available under the new minerals resource rent tax, risking a stoush with the resources sector in an election year.
Former BHP Billiton chairman Don Argus toldThe Weekend Australian: “You certainly don’t want to start double-taking the resources companies because you will have no one investing capital here then. As it is, people are looking at the sovereign risk and starting to wonder what’s going on.”..
Former Western Mining Corporation chief Hugh Morgan, who is on the Anglo American Australian advisory board, said that existing projects had already suffered a “dramatic loss of value” because of the carbon tax, mining tax and changes to state-based royalty regimes.

“This major capital loss has shaken many CEOs’ comfort in project opportunities in Australia,” Mr Morgan said.


A street that shamed our immigration policies

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER242012(6:57am)

The new normal:
Mustapha’s brother Mohammad Dib, 34, who has spent at least eight years in jail for car rebirthing and his role in trying to cover up his brother’s role in the Lee murder, told Fairfax Media they are a ‘’normal family despite a few murders and shit’’.
An indictment of our immigration and refugee policies, and the refusal of the enlightened to debate problems with integration: 
More than a decade ago, [Telopea Street ] was a regular haunt as [police] tried to quell the 800 metre strip in Punchbowl that had become home to Sydney’s worst violence, drug dealing and criminality....

Central to the evil of those times was Mustapha Dib, whose family arrived in 1977 from Miniyeh, in Lebanon’s north.

On Friday, Mustapha Dib, known by friends, family and police as ‘Fairy,’ received a 30-year minimum jail sentence for the Lakemba murder of pregnant Anita Vrzina, 20, and wounding her partner, Ahmed Banat, with intent to murder in November 2000.

It was the second person he killed before he was 18…
Now an acting Deputy Commissioner, David Hudson was the Campsie crime manager when Telopea Street was a virtual war zone… In two years, they made more than 60 arrests and seized $3 million worth of assets in an attempt to strangle the Telopea Street menace…

Many of Sydney’s worst crooks of that era grew up on or near Telopea Street, working together or on opposing gangs to control the underworld, while the infamous Danny Karam gang - known as DK’s boys - fought it out for control of Kings Cross.

Michael Kanaan, sentenced for three life murders, and the warring families of the Razzaks and Darwiches epitomised the lawless, ruthless bloodlust that Telopea Street thrived on.


Bernardi backed

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER242012(6:37am)

I doubt Tony Abbott is into any boat rocking at the moment, although a Bernardi cracking whips could be formidable:
(Subscription required.)


AWU scandal - Kelty adds to pressure on Gillard

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER242012(6:17am)

 The AWU scandal
ACTU giant Bill Kelty adds to the pressure on Julia Gillard, damning the creation of the fund she helped set up and the secrecy with which she did it:

Caucus members said Ms Gillard should make a statement to parliament about her link to the fund, while Tasmanian independent Andrew Wilkie also said she should answer “outstanding questions” about her past…
Mr Shorten told the ABC’s Lateline this week that the fund was “unauthorised”, “inappropriate” and “out of bounds” but added that he was satisfied with Ms Gillard’s explanations about the matter. Mr Kelty said he had a very high regard for Mr Shorten’s views and that most people in the unions would have regarded those kind of funds as being inappropriate.

“If they’re not authorised, then they’re not known, they’re secret and nobody knows what purpose they’re for,” he said… Mr Kelty, who led the labour movement at the time of the AWU affair in the 90s, said he had not examined the issue in detail and did not know of the fund’s existence at the time.
Some senior Labor figures aren’t just alarmed by the handling of the scandal, but of the substance of it, too:
Labor MPs, including ministers, believe the interests of the party and the wider labour movement would be best served by a comprehensive response from Gillard to the avalanche of questions about what she knew and the claimed contradictions in her statements as Prime Minister.

Could this really be a greater threat than Kevin Rudd’s challenge for the leadership in February? Yes, because while Rudd’s failed bid threatened Gillard’s prime ministership it did not necessarily endanger Labor’s grasp of power…
This is an affair that, depending on what emerges and how Gillard responds, could lead the opposition to move a motion of no confidence in the prime minister.

She could survive only with the support of Tony Windsor, Rob Oakeshott and Andrew Wilkie. None of these three is a fan of Tony Abbott, and all would prefer to keep Gillard in place. But there is a limit to what they can tolerate politically. ..
Even one of Gillard’s cabinet ministers and a mainstay of her caucus support, Bill Shorten, distanced himself from his leader over the scandal this week…
Asked about this fund this week, Shorten said: “Well, that account was unauthorised by the union and was an inappropriate account that account as far as I can tell. So that was out of bounds...”

So while he did not challenge the Prime Minister’s version of events, neither did he mount a rousing defence of her. The political significance of this was not lost on Gillard’s caucus, which is increasingly uneasy about the matter.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard says she does not remember seeing documents in 1993 relating to a mortgage for a property allegedly partly paid for with money from a union slush fund/
... the Prime Minister on Friday told reporters in Melbourne she could not remember seeing a letter from the Commonwealth Bank of Australia which, it is claimed, shows that Ms Gillard knew S&G had provided the mortgage…
“Seventeen years ago I gave my best recollections of something that happened 2½ years earlier,” Ms Gillard said on Friday. “It is not remarkable that I didn’t have full recall of documents relating to a file I didn’t run.
“What this all means is that this whole smear campaign boils down to absolutely nothing. [There’s] not been one substantiated incident of wrongdoing put against me in this whole campaign of smear,” Ms Gillard said of accusations that surround her admitted involvement with the fund.
Former S&G partner Nick Styant-Browne told the ABC’s 7.30 program on Thursday night that Ms Gillard told senior partners during her exit interview from the firm that she learnt only in August 1995 it had given a mortgage loan to buy the Fitzroy property.

“There is absolutely no doubt that Ms Gillard not only knew of the S&G mortgage in March of 1993, but was specifically involved in taking steps to facilitate that mortgage,” Mr Styant-Browne told the ABC. 
A timeline of the scandal and how it was finally dragged out into the open - despite attempts, very nearly successful, to intimidate the media into going quiet.
Mark Baker, while agreeing there is no “smoking gun” and that some criticisms of the Prime Minister have been very unfair, says there are still many questions she must answer:

The most recent is the release to The Age this week of a further section of the transcript of Gillard’s September 1995 meeting with the Slater & Gordon partners in which she denies any knowledge of a $150,000 loan extended by the firm to complete the purchase of the Fitzroy property. Yet the file of the conveyancing work includes a Commonwealth Bank letter from March 1993 that shows she personally sought and obtained a certificate of currency for insurance that was a prerequisite for the loan…
Nick Styant-Browne, the former partner who released the transcript and headed the firm’s commercial department in which the work was done, told the ABC there was no doubt Gillard knew about the mortgage and took steps to facilitate it…
Gillard has also not answered new information challenging her assertion that she provided only passing legal advice on the formation of the AWU Workplace Reform Association - the entity from which Wilson stole more than $400,000. The Age revealed last month that a letter she wrote to West Australian authorities was pivotal in gaining approval for a body described at the time as an association to promote workplace safety and training but which she understood all along to be a union slush fund…
Gillard has yet to reconcile her insistence in August that the Workplace Reform Association was - before it was comprehensively rorted - a legitimate vehicle for funding union election campaigns, with what her cabinet colleague and former AWU national secretary Bill Shorten told Lateline on Wednesday: ‘’That account was unauthorised by the union and it was an inappropriate account, that account, as far as I can tell. So that was out of bounds.’’

And Gillard has also still not reconciled her August statement to journalists - ‘’I paid for my renovations’’ - with what she told the partners in 1995 when challenged about alleged payments for renovations on her Abbotsford house: ‘’I can’t categorically rule out that something at my house didn’t get paid for by the association or … by the union or whatever.’’ If she was unsure in 1995, how can she be sure in 2012? And why was she open to the possibility of misappropriation from ‘’the association’’ in 1995 when police didn’t confirm that it had been corrupted until the following year?
(Parts of the original post have been bumped to one above.)



Tim Blair – Saturday, November 24, 2012 (1:25pm)

ABC Chairman James Spigelman
I believe it would be generally accepted that the ABC, throughout its 80 year history, has been, and remains, one of the most important cultural institutions in this nation. Indeed, a case can be made that it is our most important, single cultural institution. 
Which, if true, would be the worst thing about the ABC. In the same way that state-owned businesses distort market economies, the state-owned ABC distorts and shrinks Australian culture. It’s a one-billion-dollar-per-year brake on Australian advancement – paid for entirely by its victims.
UPDATE. Here’s the culture your money buys.



Tim Blair – Saturday, November 24, 2012 (1:04pm)

Should Iowahawk write a book? Yes, immediately.



Tim Blair – Saturday, November 24, 2012 (12:14pm)

South Africa’s world champion bowlers can’t figure out how to dismiss Australian captain Michael Clarke for less than 200 runs. Perhaps they should ask a foremost authority on the subject – North Sydney allrounder Scott Rodgie.
Rodgie, captain of the North Sydney Bears in Sydney’s grade competition, achieved the near-impossible last month by removing Clarke caught and bowled for just 38.
The Australian captain was making a rare grade appearance for Western Suburbs when Rodgie’s medium pace wizardry brought him down. Remarkably, Clarke has since scored 451 more runs for one dismissal against South Africa than he managed against Rodgie and the rest of his elite North Sydney bowling attack.
“I just sort of bowled it up and he hit it back at me,” Rodgie said yesterday. “He hit it pretty well, to be truthful. And I put my right hand out and it stuck.”
Modest Rodgie points out that Clarke was attempting some big shots when the moment came. “There was a bit of luck involved.”
Lucky or not, 25-year-old Rodgie is now tormenting the Proteas and their captain Graeme Smith onTwitter. “If only I was South African,” he wrote following Clarke’s latest double century. “Smithy give me a call. I know M. Clarke’s weakness.”
He ended the tweet with a gently teasing: “statsdontlie”.
Impressively, North Sydney also managed to restrict Clarke’s usually high scoring rate. His 38 against the Bears came in a glacial 74 balls – a pace significantly below the 31-year-old’s career Test strike rate.
By comparison, against South Africa in Adelaide on Thursday Clarke tore a freewheeling 65 runs from the first 74 deliveries he faced. South Africa’s Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Rory Kleinveldt evidently lack the bowling firepower of North Sydney’s Rodgie, Nic Bills, James Campbell and Glenn Aitken.
“There’s been a fair bit of chat about it,” said Rodgie of his Clarke wicket, which came in only his second match as captain for the mid-table Bears.
In another claim to fame for Rodgie, he achieved what no Test bowler has ever managed against Clarke. In 140 Test innings over eight years, Clarke has never once been dismissed for 38.



Tim Blair – Saturday, November 24, 2012 (11:56am)

Charles Krauthammer asks
Why was there an Israel–Gaza war in the first place? Resistance to the occupation, say Hamas and many in the international media.
What occupation? 
Read on.
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